A chance to bond, says Royle

IPSWICH Town manager Joe Royle hopes that the current short break, soaking up the sun in Tenerife, will put his players in the right frame of mind for the final third of the season, writes Carl Marston.

IPSWICH Town manager Joe Royle hopes that the current short break, soaking up the sun in Tenerife, will put his players in the right frame of mind for the final third of the season, writes Carl Marston.

Town's first team squad are enjoying a couple of days in the Canary Islands, while continuing with their training, in preparation for this Saturday's Division One match against visiting Preston.

Despite last weekend's disappointing 4-2 defeat at Burnley, Royle's men remain in fourth spot, with an excellent chance of at least making the play-offs.

Three of their play-off rivals are in action tonight. Sheffield United will leapfrog Town in the table, if they can win at Crewe, while Reading would also move above Ipswich if they could beat visiting Burnley.


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Millwall will be level on points with Ipswich by the end of this evening, but only if they can see off the challenge of Rotherham at the Den.

"I believe that the players need this short break to recharge the batteries," said Royle from his base in Tenerife last night.

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"We're continuing to train, and the lads that want to are also having a round of golf. It's a chance for some team camaraderie and a little bit of sunshine.

"We are now approaching a vital stage of the season. It's important that team spirit is good as we start the long run-in. We have to push on from now.

"I'm still looking for loan players, and it only takes one phone call for things to swing into action," added Royle.

Even though Ipswich have lost five league matches at Portman Road, only leaders Norwich City (12) have won more home games in Division One this campaign.

Town still have 14 games left, and 42 points to play for, but much will depend on whether they can keep picking up maximum points at home.

Next Saturday's visitors Preston were beaten 2-1 at home by Millwall last weekend, and are four points behind Town.

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